Oct 9, 2010

Italian / American Supervisor of Umpires: Steve Palermo

Stephen Michael Palermo was born October 9, 1949 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Palermo went to Worcester State College and enrolled in the Umpire Development Program in 1972. It took him only five years to get to the major league level. He was one of the first A.L. Umpires to not use the large outside chest protector that the N.L. umps had stopped using years before. A.L. umps hired prior to 1977 were grand fathered in & were not required to use the inside chest protectors.

Palermo was the third base umpire who signaled “fair ball” when Bucky Dent hit his famous HR during the 1978 A.L. East playoff game at Fenway Park. He would go on to umpire in the 1980, 1982 & 1989 ALCS, as well as the 1981 ALDS. He covered first base for the 1986 All Star Game held at the Houston Astrodome. His only World Series was in 1983 when Baltimore defeated Philadelphia. That same season he worked behind the plate for Dave Righetti’s no hitter in New York. In 1991 the Sporting News ranked him Number one for overall performance of an umpire.

In July of 1991 he was eating dinner with friends after a Texas Rangers game when he went to help two witresses who were getting mugged in the parking lot. He suffered a gunshot wound to his spinal cord which paralyzed him instantly from the waist down. He was told he would never walk again. After three months of determination & rehab was able to walk with a cane & leg brace. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 1991 World Series.

Honors: In 1994, he won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. In 2003, he began serving as the Honorary Chairman of Assurant Employee Benefits' WillReturn Council. The Award is given to individuals who overcome disabilities.

In 2005 he served as honorary commissioner for the Tee Ball game at the White House in which children with physical disabilities participated. He currently serves as the MLB supervisor of umpires, and also works as a motivational speaker. Palermo serves as a liaison between Major League Baseball and the Major League umpires. He currently lives in beautiful Overland Park, Kansas just outside Kansas City, Missouri with his wife Debbie.

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